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Their outward beha
kinds of honour, so it is an offence against natural decency, to fee children bear themselves
the square with their parents, to answer them rudely, or to viour. be wanting in respect, in looks or gesture, in words
or deeds. So when parents, through fondness or want of judgment, take off the restraint, remove the bars that
kept their children at due distance, they too often Muft not be have reason to repent thereof: and if there be no
miscarriage on it, it is not owing to their discretion, but to the grace of God working early in the childrens hearts. Children must not pry into the infirmities and failings of their parents, but conceal them. But that children may discharge this part of their duty better, as it is partly in the parents power, so should it be their great care not to misbehave in light of their children, nor set them bad examples. The re
spect is founded upon some supposed excellency, Have no bad worth, and some superiority, and when parents example.
admit their children to an equality, and make them privy to their indiscretions, follies, and miscarriages, they invite contempt. This is very bad management. Much more,
It is a point of the greatest folly for either father fuaded to side or mother, as it too often is the case, to support the with one pa- children in contempt and disrespect to the other rent against this must never be attempted, it is indiscreet, and
unjust; for neither parent has authority to absolve the children of their duty to the other parent. It may be that one of them is of evil fame or bad example; yet that does not excuse the child's duty or respect, who must honour them when they can neither be loved, obeyed, or imitated by their children ; because, honouring parents is always in childrens power : consequently, though the case may be so hard, that children shall not be able to pay obedience to the several or opposite commands of their parents ; yet it can never happen so that they shall not always be able to pay respect to them both : of this they must never fail ; for neither parent can be injured by courteous behaviour. So that if one parent should be so unreasonable to require the child to affront the other, the child would be safe in a respectful refusal ; because no paPent has a right of taking away another's right; and each of
them have equal right to the respect of their children; it must indeed be paid to both, by all children: and it is a most wick, ed thing for any parent to command or encourage any rude undutiful behaviour of the children to either of the
parents, upon any provocation or account whatsoever.
III. What has been said of keeping children at a distance, is also to be understood with caution and discretion;
Must obey. it does most commonly and naturally preserve respect and honour, and therefore it is generally best to be observed: but the different circumstances of parents, and the different tempersand dispositions of children, may make great alteration. Tho'this is a certain principle : whilst children want understanding to direct their choice and will, they should have no will, but that of their parents ; and therefore should obey till arrived at a more sound judgment. Parents must beallowed to discern what is most proper for their children ; and tho’ they be now and then mistaken; yet it is always safest to follow their commands and instructions, whose main end and purpose is to do them good; their care and study
Why. are fixt upon them; and often chuse to live penuriously, that their children may live at ease; who can then sufpect their counsels or commands of want of love ? Nothing can be plainer than that parents love their children dearly, and without design, and are older, wiser, and more experienced; and therefore the fittest to command, and to be obeyed by their children; and for this reason God makes it a command, and bids us honour our father and mother; so that the disobedient offends against command as well as reason; against God as well as man: who, to show us how fit it is to obey our parents, calls himself our Father, and from that relation calls for our obedience likewise. Let then stubborn, headstrong children, consider the ties they have to be obedient to their parents, and they will find both pleasure and security in being fo: the approbation of all, and the blessing of God goes along with it; whereas, nothing but trouble of mind, forrow, shame, infamy, and the displeasure of Almighty God, attend disobedience to their good and wholesome commands.
In case of
But if thecommand of a parent istodoevil, our duty to God
is to be preferred; for we must obey God raExcept in
ther than man. The commands of parents must particular cases.
not cause them to do, what God our heavenly Fa
ther forbids, or to neglect what he commands; because the authority of God is first and greatest: nothing is to stand in competition with it. But even in this case, the command of God must be plain and evident; not a doubtful or disputed thing. Nay as certain as that obedience is due to the commands of parents ; yet we are not to obey our parents when they command things contrary to the laws of the land, the publick good being to be preferred to private inclinations.
IV. In case of marriage, children must endea
vour to obtain the consent of their parents; for it marriage.
is expressly faid, that they shall honour and obey them; and to reconcile marrying against consent, with honouring their parents ; or marrying against command, with obeying them, is vain, when there is a just reason for the parents refusal. And if the son would marry against the consent of the parent, or the father obtrude a match on the son,
the plain resolution is in each case, the father and May not be
son have severally a negative; for notwithstanding obliged.
parents have a great authority, yet they may abuse it; they are not incapable of doing injury to their children who are to be subject to their parents, but not slaves to their paflions. In like manner,
V. He that suffers wrong, may also be righted: May go to
the laws of God do not forbid this; and the laws
of the land are free and impartial; they make no difference of persons, know no relation ; justice is, in this respect, to be blind : and a son or daughter may, without offence of God's law, appeal to the laws of the land, against their parents in some cases; as for matters of contract, estate, inheritance, or money, when the child cannot live without it: but for a light injury, or any thing easy to be borne, a child should not implead his parent: the hardship must be near intolerable ; the injustice great and pressing, when a man's conscience can permit him
to go to law with his parent; it should therefore be plain that the parent is much in the wrong, vio
lating the laws of nature, and putting off the parental love and tenderness, before a child should seek for justice.
Nevertheless, this duty is somewhat altered in the case of mothers, when they hasten to second marriages prejudicial to the children of the former husband. The reason of going to law with them will appear more urgent than with fathers, or with mothers, continuing in the state of widowhood; because they have translated their affection and interest to another family, and most of the comforts, arising from such contested money, go to strangers, to whom the children have no obligation of parental duty: and that piety in children that would permit the mother to enjoy, in peace and quiet, what was in justice none of her's, need not be scrupulous of recovering it from her, since she is transferring it to utter strangers, and can hope for not the least advantage by it. During her widowhood, she is their mother still, and they are all of one family; she is presumed to intend their advantage ; and all she has is looked on as theirs; and if the through covetous desire, or peevishness, will retain what does not belong to her, the children, if it can consist with their wel
bear with loss for the present, since it will be theirs at last, rather than give their parent trouble by going to law; but when a new affection intervenes, then the prospect is difturbed, and the new wife is supposed to make herself acceptable to her new choice, by carrying with her all the advantages of fortune she can get, and in such cases, often forgets her children and former love: in this case, when the reason is manifest, and the occasion just, the suit may
be commenced, but must be managed with all imagi- In what nable care and tenderness.
Another instance of duty which children owe their parents, is to minister to all their wants under the infirmi
Must help ties of body, the decay of understanding, and the
them. poverty of their condition. Supporting is a scripture-notion of honouring : as St Paul distinguishes this duty of fuccouring parents under their necessities by the name of piety. Let children or nephews first learn to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents; and the refusal to provide for those of his own house is loaded with heavy guilt, he hath
denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. The wicked jews indeed made the word of God of none effect by their vows and traditions, and cancelling this duty: but on the contrary, God will cause dutiful behaviour to parents to recommend us to the good opinion of others, there being nothing makes men more acceptable to others, than such obedient behaviour: it is an ornament of a rich and noble child, and the best recommendation of the
to favour, pity, and relief, to be known that they are helpful to their diItreffed parents
. The author of Ecclefiafticus, exhorting to be helpful to parents, tells the children they shall find their accounts in so doing: my son (says he) help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth; and if his understanding fail, have patience with him, and despise him not, when thou art in thy full strength: for the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten, and, instead of fins, it Thall be added to build thee up; in the day of affliction it shall be remembred.
VI. Hence it cannot be very difficult to collect
that there is a duty also incumbent upon the parent to the child. A duty that is taught by nature, and enforced by the strongest terms in the gospel, which begins the moment we are born, and never can be dispensed with so long as the child liveth, and is not wanting in his duty to his pa
rents. For, did we only view the natural care of Nurse them.
the very brutes for their young, it must be granted that the flothful, over-nice, or unnatural mother, must read her own conviction, who neglecting or disdaining to nurse her own child, when able, shall confess that the God of nature ordained that creature, who is blessed with a living offspring, to give the same it's first nourishment. Thus much nature demands on the very first appearance of the child. And,
When we consider that the new born babe is Bring them full of the stain and pollution of fin, which it into baptism.
herits from our first parents through our loins, for all men are conceived and born in sin, and before his age is a day long, he is full of corruption; how diligent should the parent be in bringing the child to that baptism, which was or